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January 26, 2011

"Ohio Mom Kelley Williams-Bolar Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School District"

The title of this post is the headline of this new piece from ABC News covering a crime and punishment story that has been generating controversy in northeast Ohio and now is becoming a topic of national discussion.  Here are the basics:

An Ohio mother's attempt to provide her daughters with a better education has landed her behind bars.

Kelley Williams-Bolar was convicted of lying about her residency to get her daughters into a better school district. "It's overwhelming. I'm exhausted," she said. "I did this for them, so there it is. I did this for them."

Williams-Bolar decided four years ago to send her daughters to a highly ranked school in neighboring Copley-Fairlawn School District. But it wasn't her Akron district of residence, so her children were ineligible to attend school there, even though her father lived within the district's boundaries.

The school district accused Williams-Bolar of lying about her address, falsifying records and, when confronted, having her father file false court papers to get around the system.

Williams-Bolar said she did it to keep her children safe and that she lived part-time with her dad. "When my home got broken into, I felt it was my duty to do something else," Williams-Bolar said....

The district hired a private investigator, who shot video showing Williams-Bolar driving her children into the district.  The school officials asked her to pay $30,000 in back tuition.  Williams-Bolar refused and was indicted and convicted of falsifying her residency records.

She was sentenced last week to 10 days in county jail and put on three years of probation. She will also be required to perform community service.

As a commentary at Salon highlights, many people have had many strong reactions to this case because of the race and class dimensions of a poor black mom being jailed for trying to ensure her kids have access to the same school opportunities as the kids of rich white parents.  And a commentary at Reason rightly spotlights that another part of the story is the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, as state prosecutors were apparently unwilling to offer the mom the opportunity to plead guilty to only a misdemeanor.

January 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink


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I guessed her race before seeing the story. If she were white, she would have been fined and told not to do it again. I would like to see her be lead plaintiff in an aggregate claim against her town, the state and against Akron for depriving her children of an adequate education, and for racially biased sentencing. If white parents committed the same crime, then their sentences should be researched, and compared.

As to her taking an education without paying taxes locally. That is a ridiculous argument equating taxes with tuition. If accepted, then people who pay taxes and send their children to private schools should get a refund of their taxes. School taxes are not tuition. They are theft by bloated educational bureaucracies, and by corrupt construction companies building worthless, unneeded, palatial new schools. Other nations spend much less per student with markedly superior academic achievement to ours. These nations have large classes. They have little or no special education programs, wasting 4 times the cost on defective children who will either catch up on their own, or never catch up, making the greater expense totally worthless. Many have corporal punishment, and maintain order in their schools. None of those educationally superior nations have an oversupply of lawyers as we do. All educational failures, from academics, to high costs, to chaotic conditions are the fault of vicious lawyer predators. Now these vicious lawyers are clamping down on a striving mother.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 26, 2011 11:50:18 AM

A teacher threw a book at a student who gave a wrong answer in South Korea. The student suffered a gash over her eyebrow, requiring stitches, to stop the profuse bleeding. The mother lodged a complaint with school authorities. Parents gathered at her home, and threw rocks at it. Perhaps, to deter. Korean parents want order maintained and the teacher respected. Something to consider, given the outstanding performance of South Korean kids on educational attainment. Their average kids know more than our superior kids.

Thank the feminist lawyer who has crippled the educational attainment of our boys. I would like to see these vicious predators deterred.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 26, 2011 12:00:36 PM

I understand that the father lived or lives in the Copley-Fairlawn School District. Often, in cases of divorce, if mother and father live in different school districts, the parents provide for the district in which the child will attend school as part of the custody agreement. Absent an agreement, the court may order school attendance in a particular district based on the residency of one of the parents. I don't see why there was a problem with school attendance in the father's district.

This is a grand miscarriage of justice and a total abuse of discretion by the prosecutor! While I appreciate the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, this mother should not have been prosecuted.

I hope someone has filed an appeal on her behalf!

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Jan 26, 2011 12:56:55 PM

Actually, I believe it was her father that lived in the district, not the children's father. I don't understand what her house being broken into has to do with keeping her children safe while they are in school. If her home was unsafe and her children's school was awful and her father already lived in the district and, she claims, they lived with him part time...why not just move? Stupid conviction, but the facts don't make a whole lot of sense eiter.

Posted by: Ala JD | Jan 26, 2011 1:15:02 PM

i like how she was sent directly to jail while delay is chilling at his mansion waiting for his appeals.

Posted by: . | Jan 26, 2011 1:23:43 PM

Also, from the report it appears that she was not singled out. The school investigated around 100 families that were doing this. Several paid the tuition and their children stayed, most admitted their guilt and removed their children from the school. This was the only person who attempted to further falsify documents to cover up the "fraud" and the only one who insisted on keeping her kids in the wrong school. Which, according to the report, is why she was the only one prosecuted.

Posted by: Ala JD | Jan 26, 2011 1:29:25 PM

AlaJD: What is the crime rate where you live? I bet it is nil. Police show up in 2 minutes, blasting. The death penalty is at the scene. I live in a lawyer neighborhood.

The lawyer protects criminals in other people's neighborhoods. The feminist lawyer destroys the black family, making it poor. The lawyer generates massive costs for education with special education and other fraudulent thefts of tax funds. The lawyer sues schools whenever they try to discipline a child, causing them to be little nests of crime. A black mother tries to get a better school for her children. Now the lawyer puts her in jail. Other families do not go to jail. That $30,000 tuition bill she got. If I were her lawyer, I would ask to see where it goes, and why my client should pay for budget bloat and skimming by a huge administration.

The biggest fraud in this case is that bill for $30,000.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 26, 2011 2:00:09 PM

The bill should have gone to the local district. If they did not pay it, put the Superintendent of the poorly performing district in jail. To deter.

The racially biased prosecutor and judge in this case need to resign. Or else, their administrators should re-assign them to desks in the basement boiler room. Due to the international embarrassment of this case, I will bet 10 cents, that after a suitable face saving interval, the prosecutor and judge will both be working elsewhere, anyway.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 26, 2011 2:32:34 PM

This is utterly ridiculous. Why condemn a parent for wanting a better education for her children? Are you condemning her for being a good parent? I'm sure there are more serious crimes in that state other then convicting a mother for wanting to provide a good education for her children. Glad I'm not a resident there.

Posted by: kappaguy | Jan 26, 2011 3:35:23 PM

Not directly related perhaps, but I do hope we are going to get some reference or review of the new book "False Justice", by Jim Petro and Nancy Petro - former Ohio Attorney General and his wife?:

"False Justice is the result of Jim Petro's rude awakening to wrongful criminal conviction (convicting the innocent). He and his wife Nancy, lifelong Republicans with a tough-on-crime stance, could not ignore the nation's rash of DNA-proven exonerations, especially when an uncorrected wrongful murder/rape conviction was brought to Jim's attention while he was Ohio Attorney General. False Justice is the story of Jim's unlikely decision to join those who had spent years trying to correct a terrible error...and his growing awareness of what wrongful convictions have revealed about the justice system.
Packed with true stories and the latest insights from concerned professionals in criminal justice, scientific research, journalism, and public service, False Justice delves into the six recurring contributors to wrongful conviction (false confession, the use of "snitches," bad lawyering, faulty science, government misconduct, and mistaken eyewitness testimony), and outlines reforms that can improve conviction accuracy. The Petros identify and debunk common misconceptions about the criminal justice system that fuel wrongful conviction. False Justice reveals why these myths are dead wrong and highly destructive to finding truth and justice.

Myth 1: Everyone in prison claims innocence.
Myth 2: Our system almost never convicts an innocent person.
Myth 3: Only the guilty confess.
Myth 4: Wrongful conviction is the result of innocent human error.
Myth 5: An eyewitness is the best testimony.
Myth 6: Conviction errors get corrected on appeal.
Myth 7: It dishonors a victim to question a conviction.
Myth 8: If the justice system has problems, the pros will fix them."

Also see latest Innocence Project Newsletter at:
or click on my name for convenient link.

And yes, I agree that the prosecutor of Mrs Williams-Bolar should be sacked for gross abuse of his/her powers and the judge similarly for imposing a discriminatory sentence.

Posted by: peter | Jan 26, 2011 3:56:44 PM

This is crazy, We live in America and the children should be able to go to any school of their choice. That is not illegal. What about illegals that come in from other country and steal education. Why are them and their parents not locked up. The Ohio mom and children are US Citizen.. what give?

Posted by: Tracy | Jan 26, 2011 4:52:37 PM

It is not fair for this American citizen, to go to jail for wanting to put her children in one of the best schools, why should she be jailed, when million of illegal immigrants who have illegal status always lie about their resident and get their children in American schools all the time! Our American laws do not put them in jail, and what they do is not even consider an felon, so why should Kelley william bolar have a felon for this, and all she wanted just like million of illegal immigrants is the best for her children! FOR HEAVEN SAKES SHE IS AN AMERICAN!! WHY DO AMERICA HAVE DOUBLE STANDARD LAWS WHEN IT COMES TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS???????

Americans are putting up with illegal immigrants crossing our borders illegally, and claiming false resident, just to get their children in schools, what this woman did is no different from what they do in America, and they have illegal status, they never get jailed, or a felony!

There should be no charges against this woman, allow her to finished school so she could become a school teacher like she had planned!!!!!

Posted by: violet | Jan 26, 2011 7:47:56 PM

Here are six suggestions.

1. Vouchers.
2. Charter schools.
3. Home schooling.
4. Ask for a tuition arrangement with the better school district.
5. Move to the better school district.
6. Don't lie, even if that means you can't immediately get something you want. If you do lie, don't try to cover it up with a fancy dance. Prosecutors tend to be a lot more forgiving with people who come clean straight off.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 26, 2011 9:26:20 PM

One notes the division of opinions. Regular people: leave this striving mother alone. The lawyers: OK to punish her severely with criminal prosecution.

The explanation? The income of regular people does not depend on gotchas the way that of the lawyer does.

As to "truthfulness," that is an old trick. The Church called it confession. Stalin and his students called it self-criticism. The lawyer calls it a mitigating factor. In every instance, every word was used against the person, and they were often shot or burned at the stake. There is a moral duty to stonewall the cult criminals when they come around. There may even be a moral duty to bring street justice to extremist racists.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 26, 2011 11:41:46 PM

SC --

"As to 'truthfulness,' that is an old trick."

Yup. It's a "trick," to use your quite odd word, that my parents taught me. What did yours teach you? If you think lying is better, have at it, but I actually believe you think no such thing.

That it is considered debatable whether truth is to be preferred to lying tells you just how far gone this culture has become.

As I explained, this lady had alternatives that did not involve dishonesty -- and you whistle past all of them.

P.S. I don't recall taking any position on whether the prosecution went too far. Where was that?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2011 12:19:09 AM

"Presiding Judge Patricia Cosgrove acknowledged as much.

"I felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might think to defraud the various school districts," Cosgrove said."

Punishing a person for the speculative future crimes on an unknown future criminal is scapegoating for a fictitious crime. It is also unfair. It is ineffective, or at least lacks any scientific study let alone proof.

Judge Cosgrove is a scapegoating, anti-scientific, mental midget, likely a racist. She should either resign or be reassigned by her administrative judge to a desk in the basement of the court, next to the boiler.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 27, 2011 12:19:42 AM

I can't believe this. I am applying my jurisprudential side to the criminal defense, once again. I am the one who wants 99% of crime eliminated by eliminating the criminals. The extreme stupidity of the lawyer is beyond the pale and causing a very upsetting reversal of sides. Hopefully, this will but a brief moment of self-disgust. When will the public tire of having its criminal law managed by mental cripples? People with mental retardation have more common sense than these cult indoctrinated criminals.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 27, 2011 12:27:35 AM

Mr. Otis: Lying is almost always wrong. Trust is one of the greatest sources of economic success and mutual enrichment. I spent several years in a type of American Eden, where trust levels were extremely high, Iowa. I saw its great benefits.

Lying to a heartless, no quarters given, all out enemy is an affirmative moral duty. Stalin asked journalists to self-criticize to enhance their standing in the Party. All who did were shot. The cult criminal wants his victim to do his job of investigating for him. Every word will be used against the cooperating defendant. Even an Iowan would agree one should lie to the KGB.

You are like a fish in a pond. You have no awareness of the air, the land above, not even that you are in water. When seen from above, the legal system is a criminal enterprise, worthless, intentionally incompetent, and very expensive. Rent seeking and hyper-proceduralism are polite words for armed robbery. When the legal authorities come calling, you are now inside an armed robbery. You should act with the same care and tactical mindset as if in an armed robbery. Yield when there is no choice. Think of escapes, or counterattacks if the opportunity arises. As to the armed robber, if it were not for treasonous lawyer protection, the public would have a duty to kill. Anyone not pulling a weapon and taking a shot at the robber should receive a ticket for a summary offense when identified on video. Lying to the lawyer is an absolute duty, and truthfulness is a betrayal of the public interest and of the nation. This prosecutor goes all out against a striving mother. The illegal alien gangs beheading those that disrespected them have nothing to fear from this genius.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 27, 2011 12:44:07 AM

Again, bashing the American Women. We forgot about Illegals. They get to go to any American School, College, they get welfare, medicaid and they dont pay taxes.

Ohio school district said they want to keep the tax payer money in the right district. What about keeping tax payer money in our country. We still let the illegals dance all over it.

Come on, we lock American up for a lot of reasons, speeding, stealing, lying, murder...etc. Again, Illegals in the country is against the law, lock them up. Double standard.. I appreciate a good mother, i would do the same.

We needed good school district, if we cant, fire the big people in charge... collect 6 digit income a year, and delivering poor grade schools.

So if we going to lock up one women, lock up the whole school district crew, who is delivering bad schools in our country.

Posted by: Tracy | Jan 27, 2011 9:50:31 AM

How long has the "law" been on the books. I believe if it is investigated it was created to keep little black children from sitting next to little white children and getting equal education. This screams segregation tome.
It is far from over folks.

Posted by: mizmcnzir | Jan 27, 2011 12:44:02 PM

Tracy --

We don't need to lock up school administrators. We just need to let parents and students vote with their feet. Create a voucher system in which students from failing schools could transfer to good ones. When business dries up, the failing schools will dry up too, and good riddance. The good schools, on the other hand, will prosper.

Competition and free market choice really do work.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2011 3:38:16 PM


Too much Lou Dobbs--check your facts on illegals. The welfare reform bill of 1996 prohibited nearly all federal aid--food stamps and welfare in particular--from going to illegal immigrants. Nearly all Medicaid and welfare payments to go children of immigrants born in this country, who are American citizens.

Also, about 2/3 of illegal immigrants pay medicare, social security, and income taxes.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Jan 27, 2011 5:53:04 PM

good one res!

"Also, about 2/3 of illegal immigrants pay medicare, social security, and income taxes."

How true. they just don't pay them in THEIR OWN NAMES which means the govt will NEVER HAVE TO GIVE IT BACK! which is why they love illegals.....never mind the lower wages they work for!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 27, 2011 8:20:27 PM

The spawn of illegal aliens should not be citizens, since their births involve fraud, and theft of services worth $10's of 1000's of dollars, during delivery. The lawyer wants more recruits for the Democratic Party, transferring massive funds from the productive to the parasitic, mostly lawyers. These spawn should be thrown out of the country along with their protectors in the lawyer profession. These spawn displace black youth in employment, and most of these lawyers are racists.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 27, 2011 11:27:24 PM

I'm divorced and my daughter lives part time with me, and part time with her father, different school districts. As parents we knew the school district that I lived in provided a way better school. My daughter has always lived in 2 different school districts...we chose one over the other, for her sake. So what is the problem with this story? I don't get it, why again is this lady being punished, for lying that she's living in one school district but sending her kids to another? Well my daughter is a senior now, I guess we got lucky we didn't get caught? That doesn’t sound right. I’m out of the loop I guess.

Posted by: Franci Shepherd | Jan 28, 2011 2:37:35 PM

I feel the Ohio woman did what she had to do to get an better education for her children. I lived in a well to do neighborhood for years just to keep my daughter in a good school. I only had one. Thank God I was able to find a good job and pay high rent, mortgage and property taxes. But some people can't afford to do that so they try by all mean necessary to make life better for their children. She did not commit murder. She wanted better education. Putting a good mother in jail, away from her kids make no sense. What about the bad mother and father who dont send their kids to school, don't feed or cloth them, just unfit.. now they should be locked up. Again our system in America gets worse each day.

For one let back our good mother and fathers up, and give them the support they need, not a handout but the support (good education).

Posted by: Tracy | Jan 28, 2011 4:20:40 PM

omg i feel sooooooooooo bad for kelley. i think most of it had to do with her race

Posted by: deeed | Feb 1, 2011 9:16:56 AM

Feminist lawyer destroys the black family, which is bad. Attorney produces enormous costs of education, special education and other fraudulent theft of tax money. Lawyer tries to schools in an attempt to discipline a child when they were small nests of crime. Black mother trying to get a better education for their children. Now, lawyers put in jail.

Posted by: Pond Kits | Feb 2, 2011 12:18:10 PM

Of course lying is wrong; the outrage generated by this case really arises from what the average reader probably intuits is selective enforcement. After all, anyone who has had kids in school is aware of dozens of cases of folks shading/twisting/or outrighting falsifying the truth to keep their kid in a particular school. While this may be morally wrong, it is ubiquitious. To see someone charged with a felony for it strikes people as wrong and shocking.

(Of course, if they were paying attention, they wouldn't be shocked that the laws are enforced in a non-egalitarian fashion -- for example, compare rates of arrest and prosecution for middle class versus lower class cocaine use -- but that is a different story.)

Posted by: Anon | Feb 8, 2011 6:16:38 PM

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